M.S. Degree Program Requirements

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General Requirements
Course Requirements
Transfer Credit
Approved Electives
Plan of Study
Thesis vs. Non-thesis
Grades
Repeat Exams
Advising
Related Programs

General Requirements

The Bulletin of the Graduate School gives the general requirements for the degree of Master of Science in all departments of the University of Colorado. The following is a description of those requirements that specifically pertain to students pursuing a course of study leading to the degree of Master of Science in the Department of Computer Science. It supplements the requirements in the Bulletin. In all cases not specifically mentioned below, the general requirements as stated in the Bulletin are understood to apply.

Course Requirements

The department requires a candidate to complete an approved program of study consisting of at least 30 semester hours. At least 24 of these 30 hours must be in Computer Science courses at the 5000 level or above. (Any course that is cross-listed by Computer Science is considered to be a Computer Science course, regardless of the department in which the student actually registers.)

Up to 6 hours may be taken in courses at the 4000 level or above in other departments (CSCI 4000 level courses cannot be counted towards a Masters degree), provided that those courses have "significant Computer Science content" and are taught by a member of the graduate faculty. The student must file a petition to allow these credit hours to be counted toward the degree. This petition must explicitly verify the above requirements and must be approved by the student's advisor and the Graduate Director of the Computer Science department.

Up to 9 credits of coursework can be taken via Engineering Anywhere, which offers distance learning for graduate-level courses in an accessible, online format.  Students will not be allowed to petition the graduate committee to take additional courses via Engineering Anywhere.  Coursework will be verified on the Candidacy Application for Advanced Degree during the semester the student intends to graduate to ensure that only 9 credits of Engineering Anywhere coursework are counted toward the MS degree. 

Breadth Requirement: Computer Science Courses are listed in seven areas of research: artificial intelligence, computational biology, human-centered computing, numerical & scientific computing, programming systems & software engineering, systems & networking and theory of computing.   All students must earn a B or better (not a B-) in at least one 5000-level course (not 6000 or higher) in four of these seven areas (this does not include area 0).

Transfer Credit

Master's students may request a maximum of nine semester hours to be transferred. All transfer requests must have departmental approval. Transfer requests can be made with the Request for Transfer of Credit within CU System and the Request for Transfer of Credit.

Approved Electives

Courses outside computer science may be appropriate for a given student's program. With the approval of an advisor, any courses at the 4000 level or above are allowed under this heading if they are taught by a member of the graduate faculty and are not cross-listed with Computer Science.

Plan of Study

Students will be expected to submit a plan of study, in consultation with their departmental advisor, during the first semester of study. Changes to the plan of study must be approved by the advisor.

Thesis vs. Non-Thesis

Students who elect to do a thesis receive 6 hours of thesis credit towards the required 30 hours of coursework. They must also take an oral comprehensive exam on their thesis work and submit their thesis to the graduate school for approval. Students electing the non-thesis option must submit the Master's Degree Plan Approval form at the beginning of the semester they plan to graduate. Master's thesis defense must be scheduled with the Graduate School at least two weeks before the exam is held by submitting a Master's Examination or Project Report.

Grades

The Graduate School requires that to receive a Master's degree a student must maintain a grade point average of at least 3.0 in all courses taken as a graduate student.

Repeat Exams

A student who fails the oral thesis defense may retake the failed exam once, in a later semester. In doing this the student may switch between the thesis and the nonthesis option of the program. A maximum of two attempts is allowed.

Advising

Each graduate student is assigned an initial advisor when they are accepted into the program. Students consult with their advisor to plan their course of study. If a student does a master's thesis, typically they change advisors and use their thesis supervisor as both academic and thesis advisor.

Related Programs

There are several programs related to the Master of Science degree that may be of interest. These include the Certificate in Human Language Technology and the Dual MS/MBA Program.

Certificate in Human Language Technology

The Interdisciplinary Certificate in Human Language Technology, jointly sponsored by the Computer Science Department together with the Center for Computational Language and EducAtion Research, and the Departments of Linguistics, Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering, and Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, provides a rich and broad background for students interested in computational tools for human language processing. The Certificate curriculum covers areas such as computer speech recognition, natural language processing, text-based information retrieval, and web-based dialog agents.

This Masters-level certificate accompanies a normal MA or MS degree in one of the four Human Language Technology disciplines:

  • Computer Science
  • Linguistics
  • Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering
  • Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences

The program is available to currently enrolled CU-Boulder Masters or PhD students in any of these four fields, including students in the five-year Concurrent BS/MS Degree Program in Computer Science. Interested Computer Science students should contact the HLT Curriculum Committee member for Computer Science, Professor James Martin.

Dual MS/MBA Program

To support the University's mission of advancing knowledge across disciplines and in recognition that business education and training has relevance to many academic fields, the Leeds School of Business and the Department of Computer Science endorse a Dual Degree Program in which both a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Science in Computer Science are awarded to those students who satisfy the requirements.